Weird rules in your family or circle of friends

For those of you fortunate enough to have a close-knit family, or a group of people you’re friends with, are there are rules/conventions/agreements among the group that you think are odd, or at least interesting?

Thinking back to my friends from college, I can name three:

  1. The word “bitch” is a compliment–within the group, at least. Several of us observed, quite unoriginally, that women are called bitches for behavior that men are praised for, so over time the word evolved into praise for assertive or amusing behavior.

  2. Amused mocking of one another is encourage, but never any sarcastic insult must be obviously untrue; since Neal C. was too shy to ask girls out, for instance, it was forbidden to make fun of him for this.

  3. Intentionally or stupidly spoiling a movie for someone in the group who has not yet seen it is grounds for at least a day’s ostracism.

Anybody else have such rules in your social group?

  1. Everybody knows that I do not allow tuna in my house. Friends who feel the need to order a tuna sandwich when we all get dinner from the corner deli are well aware that they will have to eat it outside. I feel the same about all seafood to a lesser extent, but am willing to negotiate on almost everything else.

  2. Similar to Skald’s Rule 2, you don’t make fun of somebody for something that embarrasses them.

  3. If democracy doesn’t go your way, shut up or get out. We don’t care if you don’t like this movie, it was what we voted on.

  4. Anybody who replies to all on a group e-mail with something that is not information everyone needed to know will be scolded, then made fun of, then signed up for every glurge mailing list the offended party can find. :slight_smile:

  1. The most elegant table center piece is a cat. Just ask him.

  2. Try to get Mouse_Maven to talk about the Jean Luke Incident.

  3. Please warn us if Muggles are invited.

  4. Bring mead, just in case!

We often refer to one actor as a “poor man’s Better-Known Actor”. My parents had done it a couple of times using more conventional comparisons and then one day I referred to “a poor man’s Bill Pullman”. For some reason this was met with guffaws so we tend to use that construction quite often.

Unfortunately in our house moody silent treatments don’t follow any rules; they are determined solely by how my father happens to be feeling. So first rule: there is no rule.

In my personal triumvirate of bitches, the word “bitch”, like Skald said, is a compliment, and something we generally reserve only for each other. Other rules:

  1. Humor is the most important thing, mean-spirited or not. Anything and everything in each other’s lives is fair game for mocking. If it’s funny, you can say it. If it’s not funny, the others will just laugh at you and mock you for it. It helps us not take ourselves too seriously. So I guess none of it is mean-spirited really, because we all love each other so much.

  2. You must always speak your mind, even when you’re annoyed at the others. Don’t let bad feelings fester, and passive-agressive behavior is simply not allowed. Better to work it out immediately and get resolution (or realize that you’re frustrated at something else or not really mad at all).

  3. Our bond supersedes all others. Well, there are boyfriends and such, but they know better than to interrupt our time together (scheduling permitted). If someone doesn’t like one of us, the others will regard that person suspiciously, because to love one ofus is to love all of us.

This sounds a little co-dependent, no? We’re okay with that.

Let me first state that I have a weird living arrangement. My boyfriend and I rent a room from my parents, and my sister and her boyfriend rent a room from my parents. My parents, obviously, have their own room. A friend of the family crashes on the couch downstairs (instead of paying rent he cleans), and I must say, it is a very comfortable couch. So we have, at a minimum, seven people in the house at any one given time, more if my cousin decides to come over and bring his friends, or if we have a barbecue (which we do at least once a week during the summer). I’ll also say that when it comes to senses of humor, all of the females in my family might as well be guys.

In my family/household:

  1. You do NOPT say the word “Pepsi.” Everyone in my family is a hard-core Coca-Cola drinker (except for my sister, who we think may have something wrong with her). We say “The P. Word.”

  2. My household practices the Art of the Burn. If there is something you don’t want made fun of, you must state this in everyone’s full, non-inebriated presence. Other than that, it’s open season; breast size, penis size, daily alcoholic intake, et cetera. Living with my family is kind of like living in a frat house.

  3. No. One. Is. Allowed. To. Drive. Tasha’s. Car. My car isn’t a good car. There’s a knack to driving it, and only my boyfriend and I know how.

  4. Everyone automatically runs fast across the TV screen and the rest of the viewing audience, because we’re so used to someone playing video games on it.

  5. Do not install programs on the downstairs computer. My dad is anal rententive about it because he’s set that one up as the network server. I just think he’s weird (don’t get me wrong, I understand why he doesn’t, but he threw a fit when I put Firefox on it - until he realized it was a superior browser).

  6. Any insult will immediately begin the insult contest. Person who can come up with the most inventive and longest insult wins. The standing winner in our house at the moment is “herpes-infected cum-guzzling $5 gutterslut.”

We’re an interesting bunch. There’s more, of course. This is just a sampling.


We Rhymers don’t drink Pepsi, that’s true, but we have no rule against saying the word. BUYING it is another story, however; anyone who brought Pepsi to a family gathering would be presumed to be off his or her rocker and subject to immediate mocking by my sisters.

damn. this makes me wish I made the rules.

in my house-

  1. It’s every man for herself. It’s dog-eat dog and if you want your way, you have to play dirty. If you don’t speak up, you won’t be heard. And if you speak up nicely or calmly, then you still won’t be heard becuase it’s obviously not important enough to throw a fit over. Thus, throwing tantrums or insults or outright taking something is the best way to get your way.

  2. Food is public, no matter what (well that’s not true. it’s not public if it belongs to a parent) You can get a candy bar and wrap it in nine layers of plastic wrap and make a giant sign with little drawings of people who are sad becuase someone stole their candy bar and “please please please don’t eat my candy bar! :heart: Dorothy” on it and it doesn’t make a difference. It’s public.

With my friends-

  1. No tickling. Especially surprise tickling. And especially in public.

  2. Bursting into song is okay. Joining in is okay, too. But you have to know the words.

  3. Squirting each other with water or splashing water at each other is unacceptable unless we’re already wet and wearing swimsuits. And even then, no splashing in the face. The squirtee has every right to get mad without people making comments about it being just a joke. However, once the squirter apologizes and any damage is rectified, the squirtee is not allowed to be a drama queen.

  4. Insulting each other’s siblings is not done. Parents are on a case-by-case basis, but siblings are off-limits.

Our major household rules revolve around not noticing = not happening.

  1. Any dessert that is eaten covertly does not count as calories. Collusion is acceptable as long as the dessert is never mentioned.

  2. No one needs to vacuum as long as no one complains.

  3. One may drink milk from the carton if unobserved by other family members.

I forgot one:

If you buy food and you don’t want someone to eat it, keep it in your room. If it must be refrigerated, cover every surface on the container with your name in sharpe. Check on it hourly. It may have been eaten anyway, but that’s a decent deterrent. Better yet, buy your own damn little refrigerator and use that in your room (as my boy and I did). To expressely forbid people from getting your food stored in your room, get a lock for your door (as my boy and I did).


If you make a pun, accidently or on purpose, you get punched. Not hard, but a minor beatdown will occur.

In my family:

Anytime you see a UPS truck, you must say “Wherrrrrrre’s my package?” in an annoying sing-song southern-accented way.

I can criticize my relatives, and my husband can criticize his relatives, but never vice versa.

The answer to “What are you getting me for Christmas?” is always, “A really nice scarf!”

I knew some people who had a Lighter Club. Everyone was free to steal any lighter that happened to be around, just as anybody in the club was free to steal theirs. Because everybody played, people were rarely in need of a light while having no lighter.

A related group, though years earlier, used to have an “office Christmas party” when they were in college. It was a Christmas party and everybody would dress up, often in bad suits.

In my fraternity, if you got skunked in fooseball, you had to run around the house naked. An airfoose was when the ball left the table, whoever caught it could use his hands to directly place the ball in the goal for a legal point; however, everybody else was allowed to use their hands to prevent this from happening—violence was encouraged.

The first rule I learned about fooseball was “win if you can, loose if you must, but always cheat.” Ironically, we were highly honorable about the game and played by very strict rules. It was more fun that way.

We tended to not use first names, unless the last name was long. So everyone, even girlfriends (and now wives) were (and are) still known by their last names.

We argued a lot. I still haven’t come to the understanding that many people don’t consider extended arguments a good way to pass the time.

  1. Dear is an insult in our house. When I say, “yes dear,” to my husband I’m being very sarcastic.

  2. We have two cats and do not allow dogs in the house. The cats are not allowed in any bedroom or any on any table or countertop. This does not stop the cats from going there but they’re technically not allowed to stay there.

  3. Anything left in the refrigerator can be consumed by anyone else.

  4. Any spare change found on the floor, car or seat cushions can be claimed by the findee.

  5. The purple glass cup is mine. Drink from it at your peril.

  6. We don’t like no stinking Pepsi either. Diet Coke is only tolerated for the sake of guests.

  1. The word “Bitch” is pronounced bit-cah. See Buffy if you want to know why.
  2. Any money found in the washing machine or the dryer belongs to me, even if my husband does the laundry.
  3. When we get snarky with each other, we try to flip a birdie as unobtrusively as possible. One Christmas my sister brought 3 of her friends over, and the four of us, along with my husband and my dad were all sitting at the kid’s table. My sister got the birdie at least 5 times during that meal, and only one person noticed.
  4. My husband is the bug-killer. Period. End of discussion.

I should have mentioned

  1. There is no cat on the table if no one mentions that the cat is on the table, which is not allowed.